Sorenstam reaches golf's magic number

ESPN Golf Online news services
Wednesday, March 21

PHOENIX -- Annika Sorenstam shot the lowest round in LPGA Tour history Friday, shooting a 13-under 59 during the second round of the Standard Register Ping.

 Annika Sorenstam
Annika Sorenstam leaps into the arms of caddie Terry McNamara after completing her 59.
Sorenstam, 30, became the first woman to break the 60 barrier, matching three men on the PGA Tour and two others on the Nike Tour in official competition.

"It was overwhelming. I wasn't just trying to stay cool," Sorenstam said of her round.

Sorenstam's 59 was two strokes better than the previous low of 61, an LPGA record she shared with Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak. Her 13-under total was two better than the previous record in relation to par of 11-under shared by Sorenstam, Webb and Vicki Fergon.

Sorenstam also matched the LPGA record of 28 on nine holes, done previously by Mary Beth Zimmerman at the 1984 Charity Golf Classic.

"It was an incredible day, obviously," Sorenstam said. "I had a lot of thoughts in my head. I was trying to stay calm and hit good shots, trying to hit it straight every time."

The round included 13 birdies, no bogeys and just 25 putts on the 6,459-yard course. She missed just one fairway, reached every green in regulation, and her longest par putt was 3½ feet.

Sorenstam's round began on the back nine at Moon Valley Country Club with eight consecutive birdies before a par on the par-4 18th. She then made four straight birdies after the turn to stand 12-under through 13 holes.

"I made such an incredible start, and it was such fun, to put it mildly," she said. "By the end, I started to get very nervous. But now I'm so proud and happy."

As Sorenstam made her way down the stretch, the golf course emptied behind her and the applause from a Sunday size gallery grew louder as fans left their greenside spots to watch history in the making.

They saw it on the 17th hole, a 476-yard par-5. Sorenstam, who only missed one fairway all afternoon, drove down the middle and reached the green on the fly with a long iron.

Faced with a 20-foot eagle putt that would have to roll through a swale, she paced off the distance, fidgeted, stood over the ball, took one step back then ran the putt within 8 inches for birdie. As she pulled the putter back, the quiet around the green was so deep the only audible sound was a dove cooing in a tree -- a contrast to the applause after she made her second putt.

Hitting the magic number
Player Tour Event
Al Geiberger PGA 2nd round, 1977
Memphis Classic,
Colonial CC
Chip Beck PGA 3rd round, 1991
Vegas Invitational,
Sunrise GC
Notah Begay III Nike 2nd round, 1998
Dominion Open,
The Dominion Club
Doug Dunakey Nike 2nd round, 1998
Miami Valley Open,
Heatherwoode GC
David Duval PGA 5th round, 1999
Bob Hope Classic,
PGA West
Annika Sorenstam LPGA 2nd round, 2001
Standard Register Ping,
Moon Valley CC

Sorenstam's approach shot on the last hole landed and dug in about 10 feet above the hole.

She two-putted, again with a tap-in, turned and leaped into the arms of caddie Terry McNamara -- the first of a series of celebrations.

"You can use all the words you want -- impressive, simple," playing partner Meg Mallon said. "She had two tap-ins and one putt from about 6 feet. The rest were 10 to 25 feet. She put on a putting display, especially on the front side. She hit the right shots. It was the kind of round everyone dreams of playing."

Adding to the special moment was the fact Sorenstam also was paired with her sister, Charlotta, who is the defending champion of the tournament.

Sorenstam said her round was indicitive of the play on the LPGA Tour.

"I think it shows we can play," Sorenstam said. "There's some good scoring out there and I wish people can see that. They might say we're not playing at 7,000 yards, but you still have to get the ball in the hole. And I think the girls out here, we do a good job of that."

Sorenstam's round left her at 20-under 124 through 36 holes, breaking Webb's LPGA Tour record by three shots. That left her with an eight-stroke lead over Kris Tschetter heading to the weekend.

Pak, Pat Hurst and Laura Diaz were nine shots behind. Webb shot a 69 for a 142 total.

Seventy-five players made the cut at 143. But Laura Davies, who won four straight Phoenix titles from 1993-97, shot a 144, and Charlotta Sorenstam finished at 145.

Sorenstam arrived in Phoenix on a roll, having won last week in Tucson at the Welch's/Circle K Championship. She won that event by six strokes, finishing at 23-under to match the second-lowest total in LPGA Tour history.

On the PGA Tour, Al Geiberger, Chip Beck and David Duval have all shot 59 in official competition. Doug Dunakey and Notah Begay III had shot 59 on the Nike Tour, although Dunakey's round came on a par-70 course.

During U.S. Open qualifying last year, Shigeki Maruyama had a 58, but it is not considered an official record since it did not occur in during a tournament.

The previous low rounds on the LPGA Tour were 61s shot by Pak during the second round of the 1998 Jamie Farr Classic on the par-71 Highland Meadows Golf Club; by Sorenstam during the first round of the 1999 Sara Lee Classic on the par-72 Hermitage Golf Course; and by Webb during the second round of the 2000 Oldsmobile Classic on the par-72 Walnut Hills Country Club.

Annika Sorenstam's record scorecard

Standard Register Ping second-round scores

Sorenstam's 59 strokes

2001 Standard Register Ping


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